EU launches full-blown investigation of Samsung’s suspected abuse of FRAND-pledged patents; Motorola on notice

“The European Commission just announced that it has ‘opened a formal investigation to assess whether Samsung Electronics has abusively, and in contravention of a commitment it gave to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), used certain of its standard essential patent rights to distort competition in European mobile device markets, in breach of EU antitrust rules,'” Florian Mueller reports for FOSS Patents. “The launch of a full-blown investigation after a few months of preliminary investigations is an important step. This means European competition enforcers have received information, in response to questionnaires (sent to Apple, which may have informally complained, and Samsung) that warrant a more formal effort.”

Mueller reports, “So far, Samsung’s attempts to enforce a minimum of 13 different allegedly 3G-essential patents against Apple haven’t been successful. In Germany, Samsung has already lost its first two lawsuits over such patents. Previously, a Dutch court dismissed a Samsung motion for an injunction because it held Samsung to have failed to honor a FRAND licensing commitment. Bids for preliminary injunctions against the iPhone 4S failed in France and Italy.”

“But the European Commission can’t wait until Samsung finally wins a ruling based on such a patent and enforces it, potentially causing irreparable harm,” Mueller reports. “Even though Samsung is at this stage the only company to be investigated over this issue, other suspected abusers could face similar inquiries anytime. And everyone else who may intend to seek or enforce injunctions based on FRAND-pledged standards-essential patents in Europe will now have to proceed with extra caution. In particular, Motorola Mobility…”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Samsung’s desperation is going to cost them. They have just been filing suits simply because Apple has filed suits against them. This is going to come back to bite them.

  2. For all of you Fandroids out there, here is what this means:

    Apple has sued Samsung for copying its unique Apple technology and and trade dress (look). These things are patented and cannot be copied without permission from Apple. Samsung has retaliated by suing and countersuing Apple for using Samsung’s FRAND patents. FRAND patents are not unique to Samsung, nor do they include things like visual design. FRAND patents cover technology that is formally included in industry standards. Those standards have been agreed to by all parties in the industry (.e.g. 3G wireless standards). Use of such patents MUST be offered to ALL comers on an equal basis for a set, nominal royalty. If they are not, that generally would be called discriminatory and predatory business practices. Samsung’s attempts to enjoin Apple from using patents which cover industry standards (FRAND patents) puts them arguably in a position of having violated anti-trust laws. Apple’s patents are not incorporated in any formal industry standards. The end result will most likely be that Samsung is told to drop their suits or face prosecution.

  3. Samsung’s tentacles grow into many products and services, from ships to everyday commodities. It uses its chaebol’s power to muscle into every businesses. Governments are getting nervous that Samsung are killing their home-grown firms with uncompetitive, predatory Mafia tactics to win market share.

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